Best things to do in Cyprus in December for a sunny and affordable winter vacation

Cyprus is a popular winter destination for Europeans seeking the warm sun. Although you won’t find beach weather here in December, Cyprus is a sunny and pleasant island to visit, with numerous beautiful places to see and fun things to do this time of the year.

How cold is Cyprus in December?

The weather in December in Cyprus is pleasantly warm and sunny, in contrast to many other European countries. The temperatures on the coast average 17ºC (62°F) according to holiday-weather.com, while they tend to be a few degrees cooler in the capital, Nicosia and up in the Troodos mountains.

Snow rarely falls in the mountains until January when there is a short ski season. The resort town of Paphos on the southwest coast of Cyprus usually enjoys the best weather in December – and the best sunsets.

Minimum temperature: 9°C/ 48°F
Maximum temperature:15°C – 25°C (59°- 77° F)
Average temperature: 17°C (62°F)
Average precipitation: 7-8 days per month
Average daylight hours: 5 hours (sunset is at 5:00 pm)

Is December a good time to visit Cyprus?

Pros

Apart from some rainy days, the December weather in Cyprus is surprisingly warm and sunny. A real benefit is that it very rarely rains all day long and is more likely to rain really heavily for a couple of hours before the sun comes out again.
The autumn rainfalls encourage all the greenery to re-appear after the long hot summer months and this really transforms the Cyprus countryside for the winter.
As December is low season, the prices for flights, accommodation and rental cars drop. The costs climb again at the end of the month for those wanting to celebrate Christmas in Cyprus.
The lower temperatures mean that the weather is ideal for hiking and cycling. There are great designated routes for both. Interestingly, a number of athletes from countries such as the UK train in Cyprus in December. A couple of years ago, the Manchester United team was among them.

Cons

Paphos is the main 12-month holiday resort. In contrast, Larnaca and Ayia Napa are incredibly quiet at this time of year, as is Polis Chrysochou on the northwest coast.
Limassol welcomes tourists all-year-round, but get quieter in the summer months. The capital, Nicosia changes very little all-year-round, as it is very much a business and cultural centre.
As there are fewer tourists in December, some of the shops, restaurants, clubs and many activities – including boat trips – will have closed for the winter.
If you are planning on staying in an apartment or villa, rather than a hotel, do check that there is heating as the December nights can get cold.

What to wear in Cyprus in December

For most of December, you will be able to wear lightweight clothes including tee-shirts and lightweight pants. Make sure you pack some long-sleeved shirts, as shoulders and knees must be covered if you plan to visit any of the beautiful churches or monasteries.

You will need to bring some layers for cooler days and the evenings, as the temperature drops once the sun goes down. A warm, waterproof jacket is a must, just in case you get caught in the rain.
Pack your swimsuit too, as Cyprus has gorgeous spas or you may feel brave enough to swim in the sea (which is about 18°C / 64°F). There is always a hardy group of swimmers that take a traditional dip at Curium Beach (near Limassol) on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Beach shoes are good too as many of the beaches are rocky.

As the weather is pleasantly warm, pack some comfortable shoes for walking plus your sunscreen cream and sunglasses – you will need both.

Best events in Cyprus December

Many Cypriot villages will be holding their own Christmas Fairs in December and these will be advertised on posters pinned in hotels and the CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organisation), offices as well as the Cyprus Mail which is in English.

1. Enjoy the Nicosia Christmas Market

Situated in the heart of Nicosia, the Workplace Textile Factory is the venue for a seven-day Christmas Market that will be taking place between 15th and 21st of December. They display numerous stalls with tasty sweets and bakery delicacies as well as local specialities. There will be plenty of games and other activities for children to enjoy too. The market opens daily 11.00-19.00.

2. Visit the Limassol Christmas Village

The Public Garden in Limassol will be transformed into a magical Christmas Village for four days between the 20th and 24th December. The numerous stalls sell Christmas decorations and gifts and entertainment includes traditional puppet theatres, magicians and choirs.

3. Perfect for Christmas: The Nutcracker Ballet

This beautiful and much-loved Tchaikovsky ballet is being performed by 50 dancers from the Russian Vaganov Ballet Academy in Cyprus at the beginning of the month and promises to be a memorable event. Here’s the 2023 schedule:

Wednesday 29 November: The Municipal Theatre, Larnaca at 19.00
Friday 01 December: The Municipal Theatre in Nicosia at 19.30
Saturday 02 December: The Markideio Theatre at 16.00
Sunday 03 December: The Pattihio Theatre in Limassol at 16.00

4. Discover the Troodos mountains and local wines

You can take a fun full day excursion to visit the lovely Troodos mountains and three of its award-winning wineries. There will be the chance to meet the winemakers, learn about their wines and ask any questions you have. As well as learning about the reds, whites and rosés made. You will also learn the history of one of the oldest wines in the world – Commandaria.

During the day you will also visit the mountain village of Omodhos – famous for both its wines and red clay pottery, and enjoy a traditional Mezé lunch with traditional drinks in a taverna.

Best indoor places to visit in Cyprus in December

1. Admire the Byzantine churches in the mountains

There are ten Byzantine painted churches located in the Troodos mountains. Each of them is of artistic significance and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The churches were built between the 11th and 17th centuries and include small churches nestling among the trees to monastery churches with beautiful wall paintings.

This interesting full day excursion travels through the pine-clad slopes of the mountains to explore six of the churches.

2. Explore the pretty monasteries of Cyprus

The best monastery tour in Cyprus begins by visiting the Monastery of Chrysorroyiatissa, dedicated to ‘Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate,’ a serene site located in the Paphos district of Cyprus.
Established in the 12th century by monk Ignatius who found an icon of the Virgin Mary believed to have been painted by the Apostle Luke, the monastery has undergone various restorations over the centuries, particularly in the 18th century.

Nestled in the tranquil setting of the Troodos Mountains, surrounded by vineyards, the monastery is renowned for its beautiful architecture, including the impressive main church with its exquisite frescoes and icons.

The site also holds a significant place in the local wine-making tradition, producing its own range of wines using the grapes grown in the surrounding area. This combination of religious, historical, and cultural significance makes the Monastery of Chrysorroyiatissa a captivating destination for visitors to Cyprus.

Afterwards the coach climbs up into the mountains to visit Kykko Monastery which is said to be the wealthiest monastery in the Orthodox world. Kykko Monastery, located in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus, is the most lavishly adorned monastery on the island, famous for its stunning icons and intricate mosaics. Founded in the 11th century, this historic monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and houses one of three icons attributed to Saint Luke.

On the way, you have the chance to explore the popular village of Omodhos, renowned for its traditional Cypriot architecture, cobbled streets, and wine-making heritage. This charming village, centered around the historic monastery, offers a glimpse into traditional Cypriot life and is a popular destination for its local crafts, regional wines, and tranquil, scenic beauty.

3. Learn all about the delicious Cypriot wines

The Tsangarides winery is a family-run winery situated in Lemona village. You can find Lemona in the foothills of the mountains in the Paphos District, which is well known for its excellent wines.
The tour of the winery is interesting and reveals that the island’s wines are unique as many of them are made from indigenous grape varieties such as Xynisteri.

Besides learning about the wines, you can sample seven different wines – reds, whites and rosés – that have been paired with different cheeses.

4. Be pampered at a spa

If it is a rainy day outside, why not be pampered in one of the island’s luxurious spas? There are Spas in all the main towns, many of them in hotels. They all offer a variety of different treatments, but with one result – you will totally relax and restored for Christmas.

You can find great spas in Cyprus all over the island. Here are a few great suggestions: 
• Anassa Hotel Spa: Located in Polis, the Anassa Hotel Spa offers a luxurious experience with its Thalassa Spa, which specializes in Roman-style thalassotherapy treatments. The serene setting and comprehensive wellness programs make it a top choice for relaxation and rejuvenation.
• Amathus Spa & Wellness Centre: Situated in Limassol, the Amathus Spa is renowned for its extensive facilities and treatments. It offers a range of services, including massages, body treatments, and hydrotherapy, in a tranquil, sophisticated environment.
• Columbia Beach Resort Spa: Found in Pissouri, the Columbia Beach Resort boasts the Hébe Spa, named after the goddess of youth. It provides a variety of treatments, including facials, massages, and body therapies, in a setting that combines luxury with natural beauty.
• Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing Spa Resort: Located in Miliou, this spa resort is unique for its utilization of natural sulfur springs. It offers a range of therapeutic treatments that focus on natural healing and wellness.
• Londa Spa: Part of the Londa Beach Hotel in Limassol, this spa offers a contemporary approach to relaxation and wellness. It features a range of treatments, including massages and facials, using high-quality products and techniques.
• Almyra Spa: In Paphos, the Almyra Spa is a holistic wellness retreat offering a range of treatments, including Asian therapies and seasonal programs, in a modern, serene setting overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Best winter activities in Cyprus

1. Admire the pink flamingos

The island of Cyprus lies on a main migration route between the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. During the month of December, thousands of Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) overwinter on the two salt lakes at Larnaca and Akrotiri. They are certainly impressive birds to watch.

If you are visiting the Salt Lake in Akrotiri to see the flamingos, the Akrotiri Environmental, Education and Information Centre is a great place to stop by, as it has information on all the area’s plants and birds. On the first floor there is a viewing platform with powerful binoculars – perfect for flamingo spotting.

2. Discover the wildlife of the Akamas

If you have a rental car and love nature, a day exploring the Akamas is for you. The Akamas is a National Park on the northwest peninsula of Cyprus. The Akamas has wild, natural vegetation and is rich in wildlife which includes bats, foxes, the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) and several different species of owls.

Local tip: In December, rare wild orchids can also be spotted at the park. Cyprus has 19 species of Ophrys genus – the beautiful bee orchids. The hillsides near the village of Droushia are always popular with botanists and ormnithologists.

3. Visit the fruit markets

One of my favorite things to do in Cyprus in the winter is to browse the market stalls selling fresh meat, fish, local cheeses and fruit. Cyprus grows much of its fruit and vegetables. In December, you can buy plenty of in-season fresh citrus fruits including oranges, lemons, tangerines, grapefruit and pomelo.

Other fruits that are in season include bananas, kiwi fruit, persimmons and apples. A number of the merchants are individuals who are selling produce they have grown in their garden. Many fresh and dried herbs are available too.

There are markets in all the main towns and they are usually open from 07.30 – lunchtime. Check with your local Cyprus Tourism Organisation’s office for more information.

4. Make your own Halloumi

Halloumi Cheese has certainly gained in popularity in recent years and is available in supermarkets across Europe. Why not join a cheese-making workshop, perfect for foodies who want to learn the trade directly from experienced locals. The process reveals the wonderful taste of fresh Halloumi that is still warm, and gives you the opportunity to make two different kinds of Halloumi.

After the workshop, you will take a drive through the Paphos countryside to the monastery of Ayios Neophytos. The next stop is the mountain village of Droushia where you visit a lady who still makes Halloumi in her home.

Next on the itinerary is a visit to a family winery before visiting the village of Yeroskipou (Geroskipou) to see Cyprus Delights (Loukoumia) being made and to taste some of the 22 different flavors.

5. Make your own olive oil

As you may have already noticed, Cyprus is a fantastic place for foodies. In addition to wine and cheese, Cyprus is well known for its excellent olive oil. It is said that there is an olive tree for every man, woman and child on the island, that’s lots of olive trees.

You probably have a bottle of olive oil on your list of souvenirs to take home, so what better than a bottle Extra Virgin Wildcrafted Olive Oil made from olives you have collected with your own hands.

If you have your own car, you will be able to join this olive oil making tour where you will learn about olive oil production and collect about five kilos of olives to make one liter of olive oil.

Tips for visiting Cyprus in December

As December is a little cooler but still a very pleasant month in Cyprus, it is a great time to explore the country without the crowds or high temperatures. Please note that there is no railway in Cyprus and the bus service network is mainly within the individual towns rather than inter-city.

With the rates for car rentals much lower this time of year, this is definitely the easiest way to explore the country and really worth doing, as there is just so much to see and enjoy on this beautiful island.

The post Best things to do in Cyprus in December for a sunny and affordable winter vacation appeared first on My Dolce Casa.

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